Say what you want about the overused boy-meets-girl cliché, but Hello Goodbye is an undeniably worthwhile romantic comedy.
For starters, the restaged play had previously sold out at the Hampstead theatre in London.
The story chronicles two acts (both set in the same self-contained apartment): a chance meeting of a couple over a housing mix-up, and their impending divorce ten years later.
Shane Mardjuki as Alex and Denise Tan as Juliet were both convincing in their roles. In the first half, we witness the obsessive toy collector, Alex, and the highly-strung party girl, Juliet, banter over ownership of the flat, understanding a little bit more of each other through a tightly scripted 40- minute conversation.
The second half brings us forward ten years later, as the now-married couple contemplate divorce and divide up the stuff they co-own, for which Juliet shows no interest in and Alex the opposite. Yet, for the sake of those ten years, Juliet challenges Alex for each item. It is evident from the fond memories (and occasional bursts of jealousy they share that both of them are still in love), and the sentimental ending goes without saying.
As forced as the script may feel, Shane and Denise’s flirty squabbles do lead to a believable interpersonal chemistry. However, I personally found the relationship inconceivable – Denise Tan certainly did her best in portraying Juliet as a particularly abrasive character, helped by scant styling and over-the-top shrew-like mannerisms.
This disdain is fuelled by the fact that Alex has got to be the sweetest partner ever – aside from the hoarder behaviour, of course. Who can dislike an easy looker with a heart of gold, and a particularly self-sacrificing one at that? One certainly can’t help but feel slightly indignant for him, for Juliet has definitely not earned her place in his
As audience members filed out after the curtain call, I pondered over the many questions I had. Why would Juliette return to Alex if she could get so upset about the irreconcilable differences they had in the first place? It was then I heard someone in the crowd say: “Well, money solves everything.”
As uncomfortable as the ending was, I got my answer and more importantly, it made me think about what love has become today.
Hello Goodbye will be on stage between 2 to 26 September 2015.
Tickets are $15 for students, as part of the Singapore Repertory Theatre Youth Initiative.
Photos credit: Singapore Repertory Theatre